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Friday, July 25, 2014

Danceworks’ Annual ‘Art to Art’

‘Recycled’ is the theme as dancers work with music, film

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Milwaukee choreographers team up with non-dance artists to create experimental performances in Art to Art, the worthy centerpiece of the annual Danceworks DanceLAB summer series. This year’s edition is the first to employ a theme. Artists were asked to interpret the word “recycled” in any way they liked. Of a dozen proposals, six were developed for the Aug. 1-3 concert titled Art to Art: Recycled Edition.

Choreographer Catey Ott Thompson and performance artist Kim Miller “recycle” movements and texts by dance pioneers Ruth St. Denis and Yvonne Rainer. According to Ott, their Mothers of American Modern Dance invites audiences “to consider where dance and action both overlap and disengage.” She and Miller are well-established artists who collaborated this spring on a delightful performance using the words and music of the late Wisconsin cabaret star Hildegard Sell.

Choreographer Mauriah Kraker and composer Kimberly Lesik graduated six years ago from UW-Milwaukee’s Dance Department. Both have solid dance careers, but Lesik chose to compose a synthesized soundscape against which Kraker will dance their composition, fever hiways. The “recycling” involves boxes of handwritten letters the two have exchanged since graduation. “We know each other better through words than in person,” Kraker says. “Our starting point was everything we wrote each other about art.”

Choreographer Madeleine Schoch, another UWM alumna, will dance to the live and recorded poetry of writer/actor/musician Ryan William Hussey. The subject is loss and grief, which recycles itself.

As dancers at UWM this spring, co-choreographers Cari Allison and Zach Schorsch suffered injuries and have been focused on recovery. They’ve partnered with filmmaker Tricia Bleimon to create a multimedia piece about the physical body’s recycling processes, the sort that can produce healing. Bleimon, a UWM film student, is legally blind, a handicap she’s learned to overcome in her film work. This untitled piece combines dance with shadows, live and filmed.

Visual artist Anja Notanja Sieger, who is also the Pfister Hotel’s current resident narrator, will arrange and rearrange recyclable materials on an old-fashioned overhead projector. Choreographer Beth Ratas will dance within the projected imagery in a structured improvisation with Sieger. The two will create a non-verbal narrative driven by garbage.

Lighting Designer Edward Winslow, a collaborator in each of the pieces, places Kyra Boprie’s dance with conceptual artist Chad Nelson and “a gaggle” of Boprie’s young dance students “at the wild end of the spectrum.” It’s about recycling, somehow.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 1-2, and 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 3, at Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water St. For tickets, call 414-277-8480 ext. 6025 or visit danceworksmke.org.